For career planning, demonstrating resilience is an essential skill your student will need to navigate the many ups and downs of the job search process. Perhaps they did not get the job or internship they wanted, or experienced a poor interview, or even received a negative performance evaluation. Sometimes during career planning, students discover that the dream career they’ve had since childhood is no longer an option due to poor performance in a required class, or maybe they experienced an injury with long-term effects on physical or mental ability. How will you and your student respond to these and other pressures?
No matter the setback, there are many strategies you can encourage your student to practice in order to develop career resilience. First is to engage in self-reflection: Ask them to evaluate their performance before and during the event. What could they have done differently that might have improved the outcome? Help them explore the positives and negatives regarding the event; it is just as important to celebrate their successes as it is to review what went wrong. Suggest that they examine your locus of control with the event. Some things are out of their control, for example an employer choosing a candidate with more years of experience. If something was out of their control, what can they do going forward to take control? Doing something that they can control can help alleviate the feeling of helplessness.
Next, help them create an action plan. What are some things they can do in the near future to elicit change? Suggest that they create a deadline and focus on small steps. One goal could be to visit Career Services for a resume critique, to learn why they have not received any callbacks. Or perhaps to schedule an appointment for a mock interview to review their communication skills and discover why their interviews are not leading to job offers. Visit our website to connect to our office for help with their career action plan.
Last, encourage them to stay optimistic. Each experience, whether good or bad, teaches them something to prepare them for the next day. Taking a job search too personally, focusing on a negative performance, or complaining about a major setback increases negativity and blocks progress, putting them on a vicious cycle of self-doubt. Help them learn from the bad, celebrate the good, and continue to focus on the next step to get them closer to their goal.